Asian Beach Games 5K Open Water Swim

BALI, Indonesia, October 25. MOHAMMED Saleh of Syria and Natasha Tang Wing Yung of Hong Kong won the men's and women's 5K in the first Asian Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia.

Mohammad, who finished 19th in the Beijing Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, won handily in 1:00:23.6 over Wenchao Xu of China (1:01:55.1) and Tu Chau Ba Ann of Vietnam (1:01:57.7).

Tang, an experienced 10K open water swimmer, won an exciting women's race in 1:05:29.1 barely out-touching Hong Li of China (1:05:30.4) and Jing Zheng of China (1:05:31.3).

The men's 5K was held in calm, warm and overcast conditions while the women faced strong winds and rain squalls during a portion of their race. The water temperature was 80.6°F (27°C) with 90% humidity.

25 men started in the course off Sanur Beach on Indonesia's southeastern coast under conditions more like a swimming pool than the open ocean. This suited most of the competitors who are pool swimmers competing in their first open water swimming race.

Mohammad, Xu and Li immediately set the pace and built a comfortable lead by the 1K mark. Over the next 3K, Mohammad and his two Chinese rivals often went off-course, allowing Andika Surya Adi of Indonesia, Nikita Dacera of the Philippines and Chau Ba Ann Tu of Vietnam to stay in the hunt.

After rounding the final turn buoy with 1K to go, Mohammad showed his Olympic 10K experience by significantly increasing his pace to win easily by 1 minute and 32 seconds.

In the women's race, Natasha Tang swam stroke-for-stroke with Li Hong and Zheng Jing in the first half. Vo Vy of Vietnam and Sin Wing Magnolia Kwong of Hong Kong followed closely behind. By the 3K mark, the lead pack of five swimmers had separated themselves from the rest of the field by over 400 meters.

Tang, Hong, Jing and Vy were neck-and-neck after 4K. After the final turn buoy, Tang demonstrated her race savvy by taking a direct line to the finish while her rivals went slightly off-course. She hung on to win in an exciting sprint finishing 1 second ahead of Hong and 2 seconds ahead of Jing.

Bartola Consolo, Honorary Secretary of FINA, attended and presented the men's 5K medals at the awards ceremony. FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee members Dennis Miller and Shelley Taylor-Smith are also participating as referees and helped the local organizing committee put on a great show.

Tomorrow the 10K race will be held on the same course. Taylor-Smith said, "All is set for an exciting 10K marathon swim competition tomorrow, especially the women's event with Natasha Tang winning a surprise victory over [the Chinese swimmers]. This win will boost her confidence for tomorrow's 10K competition."

In addition to the 5K race and the 10K marathon swim, the Asian Beach Games include beach soccer, beach sepak takraw, beach handball, bodybuilding, windsurfing, triathlon, dragon boat, sailing, paragliding, surfing, windsurfing, woodball and beach volleyball.

Men's Results:
GOLD: Mohammad Saleh (SYR), 1:00:23.6
SILVER: Wenchao Xu (CHN), 1:01:55.1
BRONZE: Tu Chau Ba Ann (VIE), 1:01:57.7
4th: Andika Surya Adi (INA), 1:02:55.9
5th: Nikita Dacera (PHI), 1:03:40.0
6th: Tin Yu Ling (KHG), 1:03:40.4
7th: Raymund Haryanto (INA), 1:04:32.7
8th: Siu Hang Cheung (HKG), 1:06:10.2
9th: Marzouq Al Salem (KUW), 1:06:10.3
10th: Fouad Shaikh (SYR), 1:06:26.9
11th: Abdulrahman Issa Mh Al-Ishaq (QAT), 1:06:47.3
12th: Musaliam Al-Khaduri (OMA), 1:06:51.4
13th: Mohammed Al-Habsi (OMA), 1:07.09.7
14th: Kiefer Ticao (PHI), 1:11:04.0
15th: Abdullah Mohammad (KUW), 1:11:14.0
16th: Ashane Harith Fernando (SRI), 1:11:16.7
17th: Abdulrahman Ahmed A I Ollan (QAT), 1:11:46.4
18th: Vivek Shanbhag (IND), 1:13:28.6
19th: K. Rupashinghe (SRI), 1:13:48.2
20th: Nabih Masri (JOR), 1:18:32.0
21st: Kareem Ennab (JOR), 1:18:32.3
DNF: Ihab Nemr (PLE)
DSQ: Yinhan Li (CHN)
DNS: Walid Nasib Hilal Alkaabi (UAE)
DNS: Obaid Ahmed Al Jesmi (UAE)

Women's Results:
GOLD: Natasha Tang Wing Yung (HKG), 1:05:29.1
SILVER: Hong Li (CHN), 1:05:30.4
BRONZE: Jing Zheng (CHN), 1:05:31.3
4th: Vy Vo Thi Thanh (VIE), 1:05:50.9
5th: Sing Wing Magnolia Kwong (HKG), 1:09:44.2
6th: Janice Andayani (INA), 1:10:48.2
7th: Niken Christiani (INA), 1:11:20.3
8th: Sara Hayajna (JOR), 1:14:13.5
9th: Miriam Hatamleh (JOR), 1:14:21.9
10th: Song Hui Han (PRK), 1:15:42.2
11th: Aditi Dhumatkar(IND), 1:15:42.8
12th: Mi Yong Kim (PRK), 1:19:36.8
13th: R. Wijerathne (SRI), 1:20:34.1
14th: Marvie Borja (PHI), 1:21:03.2
15th: Paula Abigail Vega (PHI), 1:21:44.7
16th: Chalani Darshani (SRI), 1:29:59.3
17th: Abdulrahman Ahmed A I Ollan (QAT), 1:11:46.4
18th: Vivek Shanbhag (IND), 1:13:28.6
19th: K. Rupashinghe (SRI), 1:13:48.2